Sri Lanka thump England to their heaviest one-day international loss

Sri Lanka cricket’s chief finance officer arrested

COLOMBO: England cricket captain Eoin Morgan poses with the winner’s trophy after England defeated Sri Lanka by 3-1 in their ODI cricket series during the fifth and final one day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and England at the R. Peremadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday. – AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s top-order batsmen put up a solid display and were ably aided by their bowlers to help their side thump England by 219 runs for the touring side’s worst one-day international loss by runs in the rain-shortened fifth and final match yesterday.

England had come into the match with an unassailable 3-0 series lead and opted to make three changes to their bowling attack with regular captain Eoin Morgan also resting himself and handing the reins to Jos Buttler.

The weakened bowling attack seemed to have aided Sri Lanka as they put up a massive 366-6, buoyed by quickfire half-centuries from their top four batsmen, after winning the toss and opting to bat.

Fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera then took three wickets in his opening spell to derail England’s chase while Akila Dananjaya spun a web around their middle and lower order batsmen to restrict the touring side to 132-9 before rain put an end to their misery.

England were 219 runs behind Sri Lanka at that stage under the Duckworth Lewis scoring method which is used in rain-shortened fixtures. England’s worst margin of defeat in the 50-over format previously was 165 runs.

Dananjaya was the most successful bowler for the hosts with 4-19 while Chameera, who came into the side for Lasith Malinga, took 3-20. England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was limping during the latter part of his knock after being hit on his knee by a delivery while batting, scored 67.

Earlier, Niroshan Dickwella top-scored with 95 and added 137 with opening partner Sadeera Samarawickrama, who made 54 for his maiden half-century, to set the tone for the Sri Lankan innings.

Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal then notched up 80 while number four Kusal Mendis ended a run of low scores with a 56, the duo adding 102 for the third wicket.

England drafted in pace bowlers Liam Plunkett, Sam Curran and Mark Wood in the side for Morgan, Chris Woakes and Olly Stone. It was the first time the Curran brothers – Sam and Tom – were making their England appearance together.

The two sides will next play a lone Twenty20 match on Saturday before a three-test series starts in Galle from Nov. 6.
Meanwhile, police arrested the chief financial officer of Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday for suspected financial misappropriation linked with awarding telecast rights to Sony TV, police said. The International Cricket Council said this month that its anti-corruption unit was investigating serious allegations in Sri Lankan cricket and had provided a detailed briefing to the country’s president, prime minister and sports minister.

“Following the investigation the CID arrested the main suspect. He is the chief financial officer of Sri Lanka Cricket,” Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara told Reuters, naming him as 42-year old Wimal Nandika Dissanayake.
Dissanayake’s lawyers were not immediately available for comment. He was arrested after the SLC’s chief executive officer lodged a complaint to the police over financial fraud, the police spokesman said.

“The complaint says the SLC’s television rights have been going to Sony since 2013. At the last South African tour, this main suspect asked Sony to deposit 15 percent of the television rights fees to a private account in America.” He said the amount of money misappropriated on South African tours was more than $187,000.

“Sony became suspicious when this suspect informed it (of the requirement) for a deposit of 50 percent of television rights fees from an ongoing England tour and it informed Sri Lanka cricket.”

Sony could not immediately be reached for comment. The arrest came a week after former Sri Lanka captain and selector Sanath Jayasuriya was charged with two counts of breaching the ICC’s anti-corruption code.

An official at Sri Lanka Cricket said it had given all its support to the anti-corruption team in its investigation. Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup winning team captain Arjuna Ranatunga said he and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had sought India’s expertise in dealing with the investigation because Indian police had a good record for probing match fixing and other corrupt practices bedevilling the sport.

“We made this request because it is not only the players who are involved in this corruption. There is a group behind the players like bookies and betting agents. If we get the group, we can find out the root cause of this problem,” he told reporters in Colombo after a three day visit to India. – Reuters

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